We’re sure we’re not the only ones who have noticed that the first half of 2018 has had an inexcusable deficiency of dragon queens, adventurous hobbits, and muggle-born wizards. Sure, plenty of movies and TV shows dip their toe into the fantasy genre, including the countless number of superhero projects that dominate the box office this time of year. But those can’t replace the magic of getting swept off to another world entirely, whether that world is Westeros, Middle-earth, or Hogwarts.
But rest assured, there a ton of fantasy projects currently in the works. Many of which are no doubt trying to swoop in just as soon as HBO's critically-acclaimed Game of Thrones wraps up for good.
That being said, there's a fine line between projects that have been announced and those that are actually in development. Plenty of movies and TV shows will get a tentative release date and have various writers and directors attached to the project at one point or another. But until casting is finalized, a shooting schedule is set, and financing is locked in, any number of factors could waylay a project indefinitely. And because fantasy often involves establishing an entirely new world, it can be a much more timely and expensive undertaking than any other genre.
Therefore, we've broken down this list into the most notable projects that are well on their ways to getting made, and those that are largely still up in the air.
Here are 10 Fantasy Projects Currently In Development (And 10 Rumored).
20 In Development: The Lord of the Rings TV Series
A number of major studios expressed interest in setting a television series within J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth, but it was ultimately Amazon Studios who won out. Amazon is reportedly developing a five-season series with an estimated billion dollar budget, making it one of the most expensive shows ever made.
Not much is known about the series as of yet, but it doesn’t look like Peter Jackson will be as heavily involved with the show as he was with the films. Rumors have also been circulating that the series will be a prequel, with the first season revolving around a young Aragorn. While official casting announcements are probably a ways off, Ian McKellan has already expressed interest in reprising his role as Gandalf, which would really start this unexpected journey off on the right foot.
19 Rumored: Warcraft 2
Few movies have caused such an enormous discrepancy between audiences and critics as 2016’s Warcraft, which currently holds a 27% on the Tomatometer with a much more respectable audience score of 77%. The MMORPG adaptation didn't perform well in the States either, and it was largely kept afloat through overseas sales.
All of these unusual factors spell uncertainty for another installment and writer/director Duncan Jones isn’t sure if a sequel will ever get made, despite the potential fan base and the countless aspects of the world that have yet to be explored. More recently, Jones wrote and directed the sci-fi thriller Mute for Netflix. While doing press for his latest film, Jones said he already has a story for a Warcraft sequel if the studio ever decides to green-light the project.
18 In Development: Game of Thrones Prequel Series
While 2018 may be devoid of any new Game of Thrones episodes (we'll have to wait until next year for the eighth and final season), it has brought us promising news of a prequel series which has been officially ordered by HBO. The announcement came earlier this month, with the network ordering a pilot written by Jane Goldman from a season developed by both Goldman alongside A Song of Ice and Fire and Ice mastermind George R. R. Martin.
A Game Of Thrones prequel series could answer a lot of unanswered questions that viewers have about the world of Westeros, while exploring stories that are mentioned in the main series.
The series will be set during the Age of Heroes, thousands of years before the events of Game of Thrones, when the First Men and the Children of the Forest peacefully coexisted. We've also been promised a more in-depth origin of the White Walkers as well.
17 Rumored: Other Game of Thrones Spin-Offs
With Jane Goldman’s Game of Thrones prequel series officially getting the green light, one has to wonder what will happen with the other four spin-offs that were also being developed by HBO. While few plot details were made official, every series was expected to take place long before the events of GOT, with Robert Rebellion completely off the table and no current cast members expected to reprise roles.
The other writers who were responsible for developing the other possible series included Max Borenstein, Brian Helgeland, Carly Wray, and Bryan Cogman — who currently works on GOT. George R. R. Martin has said he’s personally met with all of these writers to develop their stories, but it’s unknown if Goldman’s ordered pilot means that the other four ideas didn’t make the cut.
16 In Development: The Witcher TV Series
While this upcoming Netflix show is ultimately based on the series of fantasy novels by Andrzej Sapkowski, many have come to love The Witcher series thanks to the popular video game adaptation. The novels follow the character of Geralt of Rivia, a witcher with supernatural abilities who spends his life ridding the world of monsters.
The series is being developed by Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, who has worked on a number of other shows for Netflix, including Daredevil and The Defenders. While the show probably won't drop until 2020, casting for the series has already begun, with Hissrich releasing a statement that a number of new, spoiler-free scenes have been specifically written for auditions — meaning we might get a sneak peek at our next Geralt much sooner than expected.
15 Rumored: The Dark Tower TV Series
Originally, The Dark Tower TV series was conceived to tie into the 2017 film starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey. But after a lukewarm performance at the box office and lackluster reviews across the board, it looks like the series has undergone a change of direction.
After The Dark Tower bombed at the box office, Amazon decided to scrap their idea to have their tv series tie into the movie. Instead, they've decided to focus on the fourth novel in The Dark Tower book series.
While it appears as though Amazon Studios is still going ahead with the show, it’s expected to serve as a complete reboot to Stephen King’s eight-novel fantasy series. The TV series will be focusing on the fourth installment, Wizard in Glass, where a fourteen-year-old Roland becomes the youngest gunslinger in existence. The show was originally planned to release in 2018, but with no set dates or casting announcements, it looks like the series has been pushed back indefinitely.
14 In Development: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
After grossing over $800 million worldwide and taking home an Academy Award, it was only a matter of time that a sequel to 2016’s Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them would be made. For fans of the ever-expanding Harry Potter universe, that time comes on November 16th of this year when Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald will finally hit theaters.
Eddie Redmayne will suit up once again to play the self-proclaimed magizoologist, Newt Scamander, who’s tasked with taking down the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) with the help of a young Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law). With J. K. Rowling and David Yates once again serving as writer and director, respectively, all indications point to another worthy addition to the Wizarding World franchise.
13 Rumored: Other Fantastic Beast Films
While the Fantastic Beast franchise was originally conceived as a trilogy, it looks like the prequel series has been expanded to include five feature-length films. The second installment, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, is already set for a November 16th release date, with the third film already expected out on November 20, 2020. While announcements about the fourth and fifth installment are probably a ways off, it’s safe to assume that they’ll probably be sticking with November release dates for both 2022 and 2024.
Even more promising news is that director David Yates, who directed the last four Harry Potter films and first two Fantastic Beast features, is already expected to direct the remaining movies in this franchise, with J.K. Rowling also set to serve as the screenwriter for each film.
12 In Development: Masters of the Universe
With the 1980s enjoying a resurgence in popular culture courtesy of projects including Stranger Things and Ready Player One, it feels like the right time to give He-Man another shot on the big screen. The character, who was based on the Mattel toy-line, enjoyed an animated series from 1983 to 1985 before being featured in a live-action movie a few years later starring Dolph Lundgren. But the film was a massive letdown.
After The Masters of the Universe movie let fans down in 1987, it may be the right time to reboot the movie. Especially with the surge of nostalgic media.
After a reboot spent years in development limbo, the latest Masters of the Universe movie has finally been given a December 2019 release date. The Dark Knight writer David S. Goyer penned the script for the film and was originally slated to direct but it looks like the Nee Brothers have stepped up to helm the film, while Goyer continues to work closely on the project.
11 Rumored: ThunderCats
If Masters of the Universe triumphs at the box office, it's possible that a ThunderCats film will finally get the push it needs to make its jump to the big screen. While the ThunderCats were never as popular as He-Man throughout the ‘80s, the characters have enjoyed their fair share of sticking power thanks to a 2011 reboot series and an upcoming 2019 series titled ThunderCats Roar.
Plans for a CGI feature film were originally announced back in 2007 with a 2010 release date. But outside of an empty IMDb page, the project seems all but abandoned. However, a number of A-list actors have expressed interest in starring in a ThunderCats film in recent years, including Milla Jovovich and James McAvoy, who would like to fill in the roles of Cheetara and Lion-O, respectively.
10 In Development: Aladdin
After 2017’s Beauty and the Beast smashed records worldwide, it looks like Disney is going ahead with a number of other live-action adaptation of their classic animated movies. Aladdin is already well in the works, with principal photography wrapping up earlier this year and an expected release date of May 29, 2019. The film was written and directed by Guy Ritchie, who is best-known for his unconventional crime and action movies, including Snatch, Sherlock Holmes, and The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
While the English filmmaker may not seem like the most fitting choice to direct a romantic musical, Ritchie said that Aladdin was the Disney movie he was most interested in doing because it’s ultimately a story about a street hustler, which is a persona the director is more than familiar with.
9 Rumored: Bright 2
While poor Rotten Tomatoes scores continue to hurt box office sales, it appears as though they’re not as much of a hindrance when it comes to online streaming. While Netflix's Bright may have been destroyed by critics for failing to blend the genres of cop drama and fantasy, the streaming service announced plans for a sequel only weeks after its release.
Despite Bright having a tough run with critics, viewers seemed to enjoy the film so a sequel isn't a bad idea.
Stars Will Smith and Joel Edgerton are expected to reprise their roles as Daryl Ward and Nick Jakoby, with David Ayer once again serving as director. Netflix is rather close-lipped when it comes to the production, release dates, and viewership of their original content. Outside of the announced plans for a sequel, little is known about the plot or production schedule for Bright 2.
8 In Development: Hellboy
After Stranger Things made him a household favorite, many were excited to hear that David Harbour would be bringing his scruffy charm to the character of Hellboy for the 2019 reboot. The film has already finished shooting, with Neil Marshall serving as director. The latest Hellboy film is expected to have a much darker tone and an R-rating to better reflect the character from the comics.
Aside from Harbour, the cast is filled out with a number of other talented actors, including Ian McShane, Daniel Dae Kim, and Milla Jovovich, who is set to play Nimue, the Blood Queen. The film will be released on January 11, 2019.
7 Rumored: The Kingkiller Chronicle Movie/ TV Series
One of the best-reviewed fantasy series in the last decade, Patrick Rothfuss’s The King Chronicle currently consists of two books — The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear — with a third and final book yet to be released. The series revolves around an extraordinary magician and musician, who chronicles his rise-and-fall while hiding under the guise of an ordinary innkeeper.
With nearly 2,000 pages of world-building to draw from and counting, The Kingkiller Chronicle could easily be the next big fantasy series to swoop in after Game of Thrones leaves the airwaves. However, the project development seems dubious at best.While Lionsgate has announced plans to adapt the series into a movie, TV series, and a video game, it seems like little progress has been made since they acquired the rights back in 2015.
6 In Development: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
After the release date was pushed back numerous times — making the initial wait three years longer than anticipated — it looks like the third installment of the How to Train Your Dragon animated series will finally hit screens in early 2019. The film, subtitled The Hidden World, continues to follow the adventures of the young Viking chief Hiccup and his dragon Toothless, as they’re forced to leave their home and venture to a mythical world.
The How to Train Your Dragon franchise found success with their first two movies and tv shows, there is a lot of anticipation that surrounds the third movie.
Once again, Dean DeBlois served as writer and director, and the usual voice cast has return, including Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Jonah Hill, and Kit Harrington. The first official trailer for the film dropped earlier this month, but we’ll still have to wait all the way until March 1, 2019 to watch the third and possibly final installment of the series.
5 Rumored: The Legend of Conan
1982’s Conan the Barbarian was the first film that put Arnold Schwarzenegger on the acting map. And just two years later, he was starring in a sequel, Conan the Destroyer, along with the first film in the Terminator series. Ever since Schwarzenegger returned to the acting world, there have been rumors that he will reprise his role as Conan in a third installment of the series. But at 70-years-old, it might be too late for the action hero to suit up to play the prehistoric warrior?
A few years back, Fast and Furious screenwriter Chris Morgan worked on an Unforgiven-type story for the film, which would have found Conan as an aging warrior who must re-examine his life of violence. While this sounds like a promising take for the third outing, it looks like Morgan has since parted ways with the project.
4 In Development: Watership Down
Based on the beloved fantasy novel of the same name by Richard Adams, Watership Down is an upcoming miniseries that was co-produced by Netflix and the BBC. The series will consist of four one-hour episodes and will follow the adventure of a group of rabbits who must search for a new home following the destruction of their warren.
The series has been adapted a number of times since the novel was first published in 1972, including a 1978 feature film and a TV series which ran for three seasons between 1999 and 2001. But with an estimated budget of $26 million and a talented voice cast consisting of John Boyega, James McAvoy, and Ben Kingsley, this is shaping up to be the most promising adaptation of Watership Down to date.
3 Rumored: The Witches
Just earlier this month, news broke that Robert Zemeckis and Warner Bros. were close to striking a deal that would bring Ronald Dahl’s The Witches to life on the big screen. The children’s fantasy novel was originally published back in 1983, and follows an orphaned eight-year-old who finds himself up against a gang of witches who’s sole purposes is to torment children.
The 1990 adaptation of The Witches found success with critics but it did take some deviations from the source material. But, Robert Zemeckis may not be taking the same route.
The story has been adapted numerous times before, including a live-action 1990 film that was produced by Jim Henson, however, it looks like the latest adaptation will strive to be the closest to the source material. While Zemeckis has directed a number of adult dramas in recent years, he’s also helmed darker children’s movies including Who Framed Roger Rabbit and A Christmas Carol, which makes him a perfect fit for a project like The Witches.
2 In Development: Noelle
The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year at the movies, especially for families. If wrangling up a caravan of kids and distant relatives to make a trip to the theater sounds like too much of a hassle, you have something to look forward to in 2019. This upcoming Disney movie finds Anna Kendrick in the title role of Noelle Claus, the daughter of Santa Claus, who is tasked with taking over the family business.
Not much else is known about the plot at this time, but one big production development is that Noelle was recently removed from its intended November 2, 2019 theatre release. Instead, the film will be released on Disney’s upcoming streaming service, meaning no one will have to brave the cold to enjoy this new Christmas comedy.
1 Rumored: Dungeons & Dragons
Dungeons & Dragons is another fantasy film that looks like it’s on track to actually being made. With an expected release date for the summer of 2021, any number of things could throw a wrench into the film’s development. While Warner Bros. was previously developing a reboot with Ansel Elgort attached as the lead, Paramount has more recently taken up the reigns and is rumored to be looking for a Vin-Diesel-type.
Rob Letterman is currently attached to direct, with a number of screenwriters swirling around the project including Lindsey Beer, who is also working on the scripts for Masters of the Universe, Godzilla vs. Kong, and The Kingkiller Chronicle, among others. Who knows when she'll find the time to punch up a script for D&D.
Which upcoming fantasy project are you most excited for? Let us know in the comments below!
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